What do you write?
Whatever I write stubbornly refuses to go into one single genre, so I guess you’d call that postmodern fiction. I’ve also heard it called “trickster fiction”, which is a fun phrase to say. I like blending high art and low culture, like my favourite artists and writers. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, avant-garde, films, pop music – it all goes into the cauldron. I’d say I write with an eye for visuals, if that makes sense? I started as a film student, and I’d love nothing more than spending all day in a cinema, so often when I start writing, it’s from a single image or a bit of dialogue that ends up spiralling out into a full piece. I’ve also dabbled in poetry, non-fiction and film criticism like the rakish dilettante I am.
Pen and paper or computer and printer?
I write like a sculptor – chiselling away gradually at an idea, bit by bit, until a statue is left, so I edit as I go, right up until the eleventh hour. Give me a computer; that makes things easier. (Although there’s nothing more damning than spotting a tiny mistake on the final printed copy. It makes my inner editor reach for his Red Pen of Doom.)
Which do you enjoy more – researching, writing or editing?
Probably research, if only because I have an excuse to go out and buy books and either coo over the pretty pictures/film stills/outfits or weep with jealousy over how well the author can spin a phrase. For this one, I’ve been looking into mod and glam culture from the 60s and 70s, and as someone who’s really into his fashion, it’s a dream. Editing’s fine, I love rewriting and tinkering with a piece like a record producer, but writing is a discipline, exhausting and exhilarating. At its worst, it’s like pulling out teeth; at its best, it’s like letting the lightning dance from your fingertips to the keyboard.
Does your Litmus entry have a soundtrack?
A lot of my work is inspired by music, if all the playlists I created weren’t a clue. David Bowie is the writer’s dream, since he always has at least one album that gives me fuel for whatever I’m working on. At the moment, I’m also listening to St Vincent, Pet Shop Boys, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, FKA twigs, Chvrches, and pop music maestro Richard X.
Favourite author or poet – can you manage just one?
Alan Moore, Matt Fraction, Michael Chabon, Hanif Kureishi, JG Ballard, Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell (no the other one, the Cloud Atlas one), Kieron Gillen, Warren Ellis. You can’t make me choose.
First book or poem you fell in love with?
Harry Potter got me into reading, Watchmen showed me that perfection was possible, but the kind of burning all-consuming love you’re talking about? All-Star Superman. It’s the only work I can think of that feels like it’s made me a better person for having read it.
Cat, dog, budgie, bunny or goldfish?
I’ve grown up with rescue dogs all my life, and I’m rather like a Border Collie – if I don’t have a task I can pour all my energy into, I get distracted and start destroying furniture.